18:30 | 27/09/3303 | Patocuda System

“RogueCmdr, Delaine is leaving Coney Gateway and 8th Dragon command personnel remain present on the station,” reported the Andromeda.

“Ugh, I missed another meeting again!” grunted the ship’s commander, switching off the tactical view on his visor. “Andromeda, stand down from attack protocol alpha one and request docking from Coney Gateway.”

“Standing down. Requesting docking clearance,” the ship responded. 

RogueCmdr awaited confirmation and looked out past the bow of his new Python. “Every time I get here,” he muttered, “Everyone is off getting drunk and only a few of us if any are out on patrol.  It’s a no wonder the Kumo Crew had no trouble smashing the defenses.”

“Throttle to 50%” Andromeda announced. 

“NO! Stupid AI! I am going to replace you with Orion or Eli...

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The four pilots of the 8th Dragon Squadron waited on the surface of landing pad 40. As Delaine and his entourage descended from the huge Anaconda the two groups appraised one another warily. The scene was reminiscent of an old western movie Adamantium thought. Archon stood out among his men; an imposing figure, broad shouldered and tall with coarse blond locks that framed a craggy, simian face. He looked dangerous and cunning and held an unchanging expression that displayed a mixture of cynicism, suspicion and superiority. He, like his companions who were obviously keen to emulate their leader, were dressed in garb befitting Imperial nobility rather than the pirates they were. The Kumo Crew were not just some small criminal empire like so many others scattered across the bubble, they had real power, influence and evidently – very good taste in clothing...

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“….and the hydroponic process is state of the art,” Furieux said reverently. “After the middle run they analyse it by advanced gas chromatography, and that is why this drink” – he paused, raised the glass to his lips and took a mouthful – “is the finest in the galaxy.”

Adamantium didn’t particularly care for gin, but since Furieux’s return to Coney Gateway he was somewhat enjoying the customary lectures that followed consumption of half a bottle of Centauri. Adamantium’s beer was taking effect, and he found the subtle glow from the glass to be somewhat hypnotic as began another tale of gin-themed adventure.

The first flicker of the lights went almost unnoticed. The second lasted longer, and the bar became hushed. Distant booms could be heard echoing around the station and the Star and Garter was suddenly bathed in the green glow of emergency lighting...

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